On Oct. 29 and 30, golfers and varied industry professionals gathered at Southern Pines Country Club in Southern Pines, N.C. to discuss key issues facing golf today. The USGA Southeast Region agronomists and approximately 100 others attended the Third Annual Symposium on Affordable Golf, a conference developed by golf course architect Richard Mandell featuring numerous talks and discussions focused on keeping golf affordable.
A few of the major themes discussed included the following highlights from two very influential speakers:
- Jim Hyler, immediate past president of the USGA, continued to stress the central message of his USGA presidency that firm and fast playing conditions combined with reduced inputs, namely water, are key elements of sustainability in golf. He hopes to change the mindset of golfers on these issues.
- Bob Randquist, CGCS and immediate past president of the GCSAA, referred to Al Radko’s 1977 Golf Journal article Green is Not Great: Golf is Played on Grass, Not Color and emphasized that reducing water can improve playing conditions for golfers. He noted that he has decreased water use at Boca Rio Golf Club in Boca Raton, Fla., by 50 percent since he arrived 14 years ago.
Mr. Mandell developed a survey called “The Golf Experience – Your Way” and results were reviewed. This survey asks golfers what they value when playing golf. By better understanding what golfers prefer, perhaps areas can be identified where costs may be reduced or even eliminated without adversely affecting the golfer experience. To date nearly 800 respondents have taken the survey. A link to the survey can be found below and we encourage you to take the survey and forward it to others.